Ever since I’ve lived in Melbourne, I’ve come to appreciate, among many other things, lamb. Lamb is not that readily available in Singapore so before Melbourne, I’ve never actually tasted lamb and the closest thing that I’ve tasted is mutton. And I can’t say that I’m a big fan of mutton because of the heavy gamey smell.
So I often linked lamb and mutton together and ignorant me back then didn’t have an inclination towards either meat. And besides the strong impression of the smell of mutton, whenever I thought of mutton/lamb, I am often reminded of that scenario from my favourite Agatha Christie novel, The Big Four, where a frozen leg of mutton sat in the larder while a murder was being committed by someone disguised as a butcher delivering the mutton…
Haha but all these notions of unpleasant smells and foul murders faded away fast the moment I tried lamb the first time when I went to New Zealand. I was pleasantly surprised by how different it tasted from mutton – it was more tender and definitely didn’t have a strong smell. And the pairing of rosemary herbs made it such a simple but tasty meal. After I moved to Melbourne, I was delighted by how affordable lamb was and how simple it was to cook it – I finally understood why Aussies love their lamb!
So when I decided to invite Ms RK, Ms HH and Daimz (who is 1 true blue Aussie who loves his lamb, footy, soulavkis etc etc.) over for dinner one night, I was thrilled when Coles had a special on half-priced lamb shoulder ($5/kg yo!) – that totally settled the main for the night!
But the thing is, I never cooked lamb shoulder before! Somehow, I had this sudden confidence that I would just be able to wing it – haha so would the lamb make it to the table??
Dinner for Ms RK, Ms HH & Daimz aka Aussie Boy
Entree – Creamy mussels with smoky bacon
Side – Perfect Roast Potatoes
Dessert – Nutella puffs by Ms HH & a surprise addition!
So without further ado, I present our dinner for the night!
Our entree of mussels…
I consider this recipe quite fool-proof because it’s really easy to make and all of my guests have enjoyed this dish every time I cooked it. It even made someone who doesn’t really like mussels to change her mind (right Ms NO? 😉 ) I guess it’s just the whirlwind of flavours in this dish that makes it such a favourable combination – the brininess and sweetness of the mussels, the smoky saltiness of the bacon, the garlic, the bitterness and sweetness of the cider, the slight sourness from the yoghurt, the fresh touch of parsley… I also thought it was quite clever that Jamie Oliver thought of using yoghurt instead of cream for this recipe, to make it taste lighter and more refreshing.
But my fault for that night was that I used frozen instead of fresh mussels because it was a last-minute decision to cook this dish. That meant that the mussels didn’t open completely and we had to pry them open (haha I must confess at this stage that the above pic was from another dinner). I was quite afraid that the shells would end up cutting my guests’ fingers and that wouldn’t be a very nice start to the dinner party, would it? But thank God no one got hurt 🙂 My guests were very accommodating and assured me that they still enjoyed their entree – sigh, my friends are too nice!
Okay the main deal…
Everyone went oooohhh when I set this tray on the table. Just the smell of roasted lamb and vegetables were enough to get our tastebuds going. Even I was surprised by how well it turned out! But I guess I should have really drained out the oil/fat before serving it – I didn’t expect so much to ooze out from that large hunk of meat!
So it looks good (if you take your eyes off the oil/fat hurhur) and smells good… but does it taste good??
The slow roasting of the lamb caused it to melt in our mouths – the meat was literally tender to bits. The sauce was also dancing on our tastebuds, with the vibrant flavours of tomatoes, leeks, carrots and celery infused into it. It was such a good way to get our protein and veggies all in 1 dish, and without much effort in cooking as well!
Yay so the lamb made it to the table after all, and well into our tummies!
So now to feed the sweet tooth…
And I thought that was all but noooooo!
I literally screamed (okay, not that loud lah) when they presented the ice cream before me – woah gelato from Il Dolce Freddo.. what a treat!! I had no idea that it was sitting in the freezer during our whole dinner! They had come in with this plastic bag and asked where the freezer was and I just pointed it out while I bustled around the kitchen, not thinking much about it!
Mmm it was such a treat have chocolatey nutella wrapped in puff pastry and 3 flavours of gelato all at once. That definitely got me on a sugar high and I kept lamenting, ‘This is soooo good… This is the best surprise my guests have gotten for me… This is like the best dessert ever my guests have brought…’
To which Ms HH and Daimz stared back in amusement and said, ‘Eh so what guests have you been inviting??’
Hahaha I think that was the sugar talking. To be fair to my other guests, they have brought pretty special desserts and showered a thoughtful gift or 2 as well – you know who you are 😉
So in all, it was a pretty good dinner and a special way to have 1 of my last few dinners at my old place. Thanks again for the company Ms RK, Ms HH & Daimz, and thank God for the fellowship and food provided, enabling me to put some lamb on the table!